The Thin Skin of the Coalition Government


I mentioned the other day that Mark Hoban had refused to meet a delegation from the Spartacus group, a loose affiliation of disabled people and supporters, and even refused to talk to Michael Meacher MP about it when he asked why there was a delay in responding.

Today, Meacher succeeded in getting an adjournment debate, to discuss this unprecedented and ill-mannered refusal. Hoban wasn’t there.

He had an excuse. He was in Scotland, according to Esther McVey who stood in for him, and the plane he was supposed to have travelled back on had mechanical problems.

This may even be true, but it does smack of a schoolboy excuse.

Anyway, McVey proceeded to talk about anything other than the subject at hand for as long as she could (to stifle debate, I suspect) until, at last, she gave a reason for Hoban’s ignorant behaviour, albeit a paltry one.

She read out a single line from the foreword of the Spartacus Report ( which you can download as a pdf file by clicking here ).

 “The process is reminiscent of the medical tribunals that returned shell shocked and badly wounded soldiers to duty in the first world war or the ‘KV-machine’,  the medical commission the Nazis used in the second world war to play down wounds so that soldiers could be reclassified ‘fit for the Eastern front’.”

That’s from the foreword, remember, and it’s a tiny part of the foreword at that.

Look at that paragraph closely. It says that the process (the Work Capability Assessment) is “reminiscent” of, not just the Nazis on whom McVey focussed, but also of British first world war medical tribunals. And not “exactly the same”, but “reminiscent”. McVey claimed that that line precluded any possibility of “constructive dialogue”, despite the fact that such dialogue had already occurred several times previously, and involving the very same people.

It seems that, to this government, “constructive dialogue” has to be complete capitulation to them. They don’t want to hear anything other than surrender.

If Hoban, McVey and the rest of David “blood on his hands” Cameron’s cronies are such delicate little flowers, then perhaps politics was an unwise career move.

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